Thoughts on Biggest Fears

Gross Spider

When people are asked what their biggest fear is a typical response would be, “oh, spiders” or “heights” or even “going to Walmart alone.” However, when thinking about a career as a Secondary Teacher, different fears are explored. Fears of violence, potty breaks, mouthy students, loss of temper, pit stains, and failure all seem to come to mind. As any fear, it is something you wish to avoid. However, as a High School Teacher…there is no possible way to avoid these common teaching fears. Dr. Ellington declared that every single fear our class had listed she herself had come into contact with. Fear is the basis of learning. Fear is what challenges us to overcome obstacles and hurdle into modifications.

Modifying and experimenting are two key terms that I have already embraced as a “pre-teacher.” I know I am going to fail, I know I am going to disappoint, I know I am going to draw a blank with my students and with myself, BUT I also know that from those downfalls I will rise. My downfalls and comebacks will be what shape my career, my methods, and my teacher identity.

(All this talk of downfall and rise reminds me of the Chumbawamba tune “I Get Knocked Down.” Such an inspirational collection of musical notes and lyrics((said no one ever))….perhaps I’ll incorporate this into my daily routine as a new teacher-or not.)


2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Biggest Fears

  1. That’s a pretty amazing looking spider! I think it’s interesting to talk about fear in the context of education because I think most of our failures actually come when we act on our fears rather because in spite of our fears. And that goes for our students as well. It was very rare for me to have a student fail because he or she couldn’t actually do the work. Most failures seemed rather like some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, an acting out of a narrative the student had already conceived of himself or herself as someone who can’t learn, doesn’t learn, doesn’t do well in school, won’t succeed. One of the most powerful things we can do for our students is intervene in those narratives and help them construct new ones. I liked to start my junior English class out with a 5-page paper due on the 4th day of school. Most of my students had never written more than one page before and they didn’t believe they could write a 5-page paper. Their confidence in themselves, their belief in themselves as learners, grew tremendously when they were successful with this assignment. We’ve got to step towards our fear, not away from it.

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